New research presented by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) at its annual conference has shown significantly higher numbers of serious injuries from road traffic collisions.

The number of road users admitted to hospital between 2014 and 2021 as in-patients in Ireland following a road traffic collision is significantly higher at 15,677 than the number of seriously injured casualties recorded by An Garda Síochána and reported in official statistics by the RSA of 8,977.

The research was conducted by the RSA in conjunction with the HSE and Trinity College Dublin, following recommendations of the European Commission to all Member States to formally report on serious injuries using hospital data, as a complement to police data.

The RSA said the discrepancy between hospital and police data had been observed internationally and could be more pronounced when looking at cyclist serious injuries. The research showed 2.4 times more cyclists were hospitalised following a road traffic collision, compared to numbers recorded in official figures recorded by An Garda Síochána and reported by the RSA.

The organization said there were many reasons why hospital figures were higher than police-reported figures. For example, an incident was not formally reported to police, or if a serious injury only became apparent in the days immediately following a collision. For cyclists specifically, the new study noted that 63 per cent of all cyclists hospitalised sustained their injuries in single cyclist collisions, where no other vehicle was involved.

Minister Jack Chambers TD said: “I welcome the RSA’s collaboration with the HSE and Trinity College Dublin to better understand the nature and scale of serious injuries sustained on Irish roads. This type of evidence-based cross-agency collaboration is critical to supporting us in achieving the ambitious reductions in serious injuries committed to in the government Road Safety Strategy.”